After a busy evening, I settled down to watch the second half of Hércules CF-Villarreal – the concluding fixture for matchday seven of the La Liga season.
Hércules CF took a narrow lead into the second half, goals from David Trezeguet and Nelson Valdez blunted by Spain international Joan Capdevila’s brief levelling of the tie.
But a second yellow card for Trezeguet just moments after regaining the lead for last season’s Segunda División champions saw Hércules reduced to ten men for the rest of the game.
Therefore, coach Esteban Vigo set his side out in a 4-4-1 formation for the next batch of 45 minutes, and made a change in midfield by bringing on Francisco Rufete for Tote.
Villarreal instantly monopolised possession in the second half, and their fluid use of midfielders and attackers meant they had five ball-players-cum-bobbers floating in the home side’s half, plus overlapping full-backs. Continue reading →
Subsequent to that interjection of Russian action, I found myself back in the realms of the Bundesliga as Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund sought to inflict a third successive defeat on Wolfsburg.
After an embarrassingly lacklustre first-half against Bayern Munich on the season’s opening day (during which Wolfsburg were allergic to the ball or their opponent’s half), positive tactics in the second half at last gave Wolfsburg some identity. Continue reading →
Seydou Keita will never generate the amount of shirt sales his more illustrious colleagues do. The Malian international isn’t just a tidy wave-breaker either, as he does an incredible amount of work off-ball. With Barcelona cavorting in a fluid 4-3-3, penetrative gaps for the opposition to expose often appear.
Keita excels in filling this unglamorous space, preventing oppositional counters, and ensuring the more gifted cogs in Pep Guardiola’s machine stay in the warzone.
The 30-year-old is also the master of surprise; making timed ghosts into the box while Lionel Messi and his width-maintaining flankers stretch the defence and draw two zonal markers apiece.
Keita doesn’t necessarily have to receive the ball on these darts. By dragging the second bank of an opposition’s 4-5-1 even deeper, he allows Xavi to pick passes, or the sanguine Gerard Piqué to stride forward. Continue reading →